Camping and accommodation
For 2020, Parks Canada will operate two vehicle-accessible (frontcountry) campgrounds in Waterton Lakes National Park: Townsite Campground and Belly River Campground.
Crandell Mountain Campground remains closed due to extensive damage from the 2017 Kenow Wildfire. It is scheduled to reopen in spring 2022. See Infrastructure projects for updates.
Some useful information about camping in Waterton Lakes National Park.
Where to camp
Date: Open April 1 to October 31, 2020 (weather permitting).
Location: Located in the south end of Waterton townsite at the end of Windflower Avenue (towards Upper Waterton Lake).
This sunny, open campground offers 237 sites (94 of which are fully serviced pull-throughs, and 46 back-in electrical).
An excellent place for RVs or for those who wish to be within walking distance of Upper Waterton Lake, Cameron Falls and townsite amenities, the area is in high demand in July and August and on long weekends.
Reservations are advisable if you want to be sure of a site.
Construction on loops east of Cameron Creek (A, C, D, E, F, G) will continue in 2020. Currently, loops B and H are reservable. Parks Canada will provide updates as this work progresses. Visit our Infrastructure projects page for further information.
Townsite Campground includes:
- Washrooms (flush toilets)
- Hot showers
- Accessible facilities
- Kitchen shelters with wood burning stoves
- Trailer sanitation depot
- Recycling facilities
- Food storage facilities
- Walking/hiking trails
- Interpretive theatre
Townsite Campground: general information
- Campsites do not have fire pits.
- All vehicles must fit on the gravel pad or park in a nearby parking lot, as we do not allow parking on the grass.
- On some sites, there are size restrictions on camping units (including tents) allowed on those sites.
- Full service sites are pull-through sites.
- Electrical sites are back-in only.
- Walk-in tent sites only allow one tent per site.
- Quiet hours are from 10 pm to 7 am
- Construction is scheduled for Townsite Campground. During this construction, some sites will be closed and other campsites may be affected by extra noise or activity within the campground. See Infrastructure projects.
General campground information
Operating season (nights): April 1 to October 31, 2020 (weather permitting).
Reservable period (nights): May 8 to September 9, 2020.
Kiosk hours: 8 am to 9 pm
After-hours registration: After hours, please refer to signage in kiosk window. Locate confirmation # and proceed to designated campsite. You must register in the morning at the kiosk by 11 am
Check-in time: Any time after 2 pm
- Visitors who would like to arrive at the campground earlier may enjoy the rest of the park while waiting for their campsite to become available (a valid national park entry pass is required).
Check-out time: Before 11 am
Quiet hours: 10 pm to 7 am
Maximum length of stay: 14 nights.
Maximum persons per site: 6 people.
Maximum vehicles per site:
- Two vehicles: maximum one wheeled camping unit and one regular vehicle. We do not permit two wheeled camping units on the same campsite.
- All vehicles and camping unit must fit on the gravel or pavement pad, or park in alternate location nearby.
Maximum camping units per site: Two tents or one RV/camper and one tent. However, some sites may be restricted in size of camping unit, including tents. Some sites are tent only.
Generator policy: Generator use is limited to 7 am to 9 am, 11 am to 1 pm, and 5 pm to 7 pm.
Amperage of power service:
- A section (full service section) has 15, 30 and 50 amp service.
- B section (full service section) has 15, 30 and 50 amp service.
- G section (electrical only section) has 15 and 30 amp service.
- Campfires allowed in shared kitchen shelters only - there are no fire pits on the individual campsites.
- Firewood is available for sale in the town of Waterton.
Alcohol ban: None.
Pet policies: Pets must be kept on a leash at all times. They must not be left unattended. Please keep all pet food stored inside. See Bare Campsite Program for more information.
Townsite Campground is located in the south end of Waterton Townsite at the end of Windflower Avenue (towards Upper Waterton Lake).
Townsite Campground GPS coordinates:
Street address: # 200 Vimy Avenue.
Townsite Campground: (237 sites)
- Electricity, water and sewer without firepit (drive-through): 93 sites
- Electrical only, without fire pit (back-in): 43 sites
- Unserviced without fire pit (back-in): 48 sites
- Unserviced without fire pit (tent-only): 17 sites
- Unserviced without fire pit (walk-in, tent-only): 30 sites
- Accessible full serviced sites: 4
- Accessible electrical-only sites: 2
- Fires only in common kitchen shelters.
- Sunny and open, few trees.
- Washrooms with hot/cold running water, showers and flush toilets.
- Communal water taps and dump station are available
- The walk-in campsites are located in the H section of the campground and are approximately a 5-10m (16-65 ft) walk from the parking area.
- Access to nearby hiking paths.
Internet / Wi-Fi access
Free Wi-Fi is provided by the Waterton Community Broadband Network (WCBN) in the Townsite Campground. Enhanced Wi-Fi for streaming is available for a fee. If you have any questions or concerns you can email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Most restaurants and hotels in the Waterton village offer Wi-Fi access.
For information regarding camping fees for Waterton Lakes National Park, please see our Fees page.
If there is no vacancy for your dates
In Waterton Lakes National Park, there are two non-reservable campgrounds, which operate on a first-come, first-served basis:
- Crandell Mountain Campground (129 sites – all unserviced). Located on Red Rock Parkway, 12 km from the Waterton community.
Closed due to extensive infrastructure damage from the Kenow Wildfire.
- Belly River Campground (24 sites – primitive sites, unserviced, outhouses). Located on Chief Mountain Highway, 26 km from the Waterton community.
There are also two privately-operated campgrounds near the park. See the Waterton Chamber of Commerce for more information.
Campground Reservation Service
To reserve your spot visit the Parks Canada Reservation Service website or call 1-877-RESERVE (1-877-737-3783).
General park information
For information and reservations specifically for backcountry camping
For information and reservations specifically for group camping (group = registered non-profit groups)
Belly River Group Campground (2 sites: primitive sites, unserviced, outhouses, no potable water). Located on Chief Mountain Highway, 26 km from the Waterton community. Group = minimum 25 persons.
Terms and definitions
Guests select the specific campsite or accommodation when they make their reservation.
Operating season (nights)
The "operating season" is the nights that the campground is open. Sometimes the campgrounds are open for longer than the period for which they accept reservations. Any dates of the "operating season" outside the "reservable period" are dates that the campground operates on a first come, first served basis only.
Reservable period (nights)
Period in which the campground accepts reservations. Note that many campgrounds may be open longer than this, and would operate outside of these dates on a first-come, first-served basis.
The administration/entrance booth of a particular campground, this is where you “check-in” and register your arrival.
Car, truck, motorcycle, truck-camper, motor home or recreational vehicle. A motor home pulling another vehicle would count as two vehicles.
Tent, tent-trailer, truck-camper, trailer, 5th wheel, motor home or recreational vehicle.
Refers to a campsite offering electrical, water, and/or sewer hook-ups directly on the campsite.
- Fully-serviced sites offer electrical, potable water and sewer hook-ups.
- Unserviced sites do not offer these hook-ups.
The terms serviced and unserviced refer to the individual campsites; they do not refer to the washroom facilities or other amenities available at the campground.
Campsite where the driver does not have to reverse their vehicle to exit (there is a separate entrance and exit to the individual campsite). Ideal for larger vehicles and trailers.
Campsite which requires some degree of walking to access the site, and therefore requires a tent. Vehicle will be parked a short distance away.
Overflow campsites vary from park to park, and may range from a paved area to park a camping unit (not generally suitable for tents) to a more traditional, grassy site. They are unserviced and are not reservable.
A campsite which is accessible to guests with limited mobility.
A designated structure for campfires located on a campsite. Check availability, as not all campsites offer a fire pit. In some cases, only communal fire pits are available, and access is shared with other guests.
In some campgrounds, guests will require a valid fire permit to have a campfire. A fire permit may include firewood. Please refer to the ‘Fire policy’ section of the QRT for individual campground policies.
In some campgrounds firewood is sold by the bundle, whereas in others a fire permit may give the holder access to the campground wood.
First-come, first-served site
Campsites that are available on a first come, first served basis only. These sites are only available to guests who are physically located at the campground. These sites cannot be registered over the telephone or online. These campsites may be available for only one night or for multiple nights depending on availability.
While many campgrounds remain open outside of their peak season, the services offered during this period may be limited (please check with the park for more details).
A valid National Park Entrance Pass is required for all visitors to the park.
Daily entrance pass
A daily Entrance Pass permits visitors unlimited entry to the specified park on a per day basis for the period of time indicated.
Annual/seasonal entrance pass
An annual or seasonal Entrance Pass pass permits visitors unlimited entry to the park for the period of time indicated.
Parks Canada Discovery Pass
The Parks Canada Discovery Pass permits visitors unlimited entry to the participating Parks Canada national parks and national historic sites across Canada, for a period of 12 months.
All sites at Townsite Campground are reservable. High demand sites and times may require a reservation. Please refer to our reservations page.
- Bears and other wildlife live in the area, and are attracted to food odours. Place garbage in bins, and avoid cooking inside tents and tent trailers. All food supplies, including coolers, must be stored in your vehicles or in food storage lockers located throughout the campground.
- Columbian ground squirrels, native to Waterton, prefer areas with short, mowed grass. As such, their numbers in this campground are higher than normal. When walking in the campground, watch your step around ground squirrel burrows and mounds, especially at night. Use a flashlight.
- Dogs can cause stress for wildlife as they may be seen as a threat. Off-leash dogs can trigger aggressive behaviour from wildlife such as deer and bears. Although deer in the Waterton townsite look cute and harmless, they can be aggressive, particularly the females (does) during the fawning season (June and early July). When you see a deer, retreat from the area. To prevent unsafe situations, dogs must be on a leash and under control at all times.
- Watch for strong winds and quickly changing weather.
Belly River Campground
Date: Open mid-May to Labour Day (weather permitting).
Location: Located along the Chief Mountain Highway, 26 km from Waterton townsite and 5 km from the Chief Mountain border crossing.
This self-registration, primitive campground offers 24 unserviced sites, available only on a first-come, first-served basis.
It sits in a pleasant area of mixed aspen forest, right beside the Belly River, and is favoured by those campers wanting a more secluded experience.
Foxes, bears and deer are common through the area.
Belly River Campground includes:
- Kitchen shelter
- Food storage facilities
- Flush and dry toilets
- Picnic tables
- Communal area
- Fire rings and firewood (fire permit required)
- Grey water disposal
Belly River Campground: general information
- One non-transferable camping permit will be issued per campsite, per party (maximum 6 persons). Campers must be present with their camping units to register. Campers need both a camping permit and a park pass.
- Each campsite may contain up to two camping units, as long as one is a tent.
- Do not park in roadways or on undergrowth. Tents must be located on the tent pad.
- Share common kitchen shelters located throughout the campground. Never store food or equipment in these buildings. Pets are not permitted in the shelters. Alcohol may be consumed on your campsite only. Refrain from using kitchen shelters during quiet hours.
- Individual food storage bins are located at each site. Do not leave any items in these bins when checking out.
- Checkout or re-registration time is 11 am. Maximum length of stay is 14 nights.
- Quiet hours are from 10 pm to 7 am.
- Generator use is limited to: 7 am to 9 am, 11 am to 1 pm and 5 pm to 7pm.
- No visitors are permitted after 10 pm.
- Excessive noise and rowdiness is not permitted at anytime.
- Display your camping permit and fire permit in a visible location, such as the dashboard of your vehicle, or on the post at your site.
- Fires are permitted only in designated stoves or fire pits. Cutting live or dead standing trees and gathering deadfall is not allowed.
- Firewood is available near the campground entrance. A fire permit is required for each night you have a fire.
- Remove your camping permit from the site post when checking out of the campground.
- There is no potable water available at Belly River Campground. Visitors are required to bring their own water or filtering systems.
- Bears and other wildlife live in the area, commonly wander through the campground, and are attracted to food odours. Please keep a clean campsite and place garbage in the bins located near the kitchen shelters. All food supplies, including coolers, must be stored in your vehicles or in food storage lockers on your site.
- Dogs can cause stress for wildlife as they may be seen as a threat. Off-leash dogs can trigger aggressive behaviour from wildlife such as deer and bears. To prevent unsafe situations, dogs must be on a leash and under control at all times. Please clean up after your pet and don't leave their food outside to attract wildlife.
Campground host program
People from around the world visit Waterton Lakes National Park to relax, experience the great outdoors and learn about our natural heritage. You can join them by volunteering as a host at one of our campgrounds.
Campground hosts greet visitors and provide them with information. They volunteer for 4 hours a day, 5 days a week (including weekends). In return, hosts have free entry to the park for a year, a free campsite while they volunteer, a site tour and many other benefits.
You must volunteer for a minimum of two weeks and provide your own self-contained camping unit (RV, truck camper or tent trailer). Contact us for more information on this program.
Currently, the campground host program is only available at Belly River Campground.
For information on private accommodation in and around the park, visit Waterton Lakes Chamber of Commerce.
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